Justin Olivetti

Senior Reporter

A casual gamer and long-time MMO fan, Justin is often heard yelling, "Player housing for all!" in the Massively Overpowered offices. In addition to news, he tackles LOTRO Legendarium for LOTRO, The Perfect Ten, Jukebox Heroes, the retrospective Game Archaeologist series, One Shots, and the Massively OP podcast.

Personal blog: BioBreak
Twitter: @sypster

World of Warcraft expands Patch 7.3 testing to include final Argus zone and new dungeon

Just when you think you’ve seen everything that World of Warcraft’s massive Patch 7.3 has to offer on the test server, here comes even more to explore. The team announced that the last major batch of content was unlocked on the PTR for testers to try out, including the patch’s final zone and its anticipated five-player dungeon.

The public test realm now has Stygian Wake and its world quests open for business on Argus, and teams can poke around the new Seat of the Triumvirate instance to see if it meets their liking. Other additions to this round of testing include updates to the Frost Death Knight and the new Netherlight Crucible system.

So what is that crucible thing? It’s more artifact advancement, because you really need to get that weapon as powerful as possible before Blizzard ditches it in next year’s expansion. “The Netherlight Crucible is a new way to upgrade new and existing artifact relics by adding additional effects and item levels. As your artifact grows in power, the system will expand to allow more and more customization.”

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Master X Master kicks off the ranked preseason

Listen, we need to have a talk about your MOBA dedication. You’ve been taking too much time off, seeing the sun too often, and slacking on your team practice time. It’s time to get serious about your Master X Master skills because the ranked preseason began today.

Wait, preseason? What’s that about? As Season One approaches for the game’s competitive scene, there is a four week lead-up during which players can get used to the ranked environment and become eligible for ranked Titan Ruins matches. To accomplish the latter, you’ll need to be level 40 and have unlocked at least 12 characters.

The preseason period isn’t only for fun and practice; there are several rewards to be attained for those who climb up to the grand master rank. Even if you aren’t that good, you can still get a free rare token to buy special skins if you complete five matches.

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MMORPG veteran Richard Garriott decries ‘space tourist’ label

If you haven’t figured it out, Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima Online’s Richard Garriott is on a press tour lately for his new memoir, Explore/Create, in which he talks about his interesting life of video game development, adventuring, and even space travel.

As part of that tour, Garriott penned a piece for NBC news in which he goes more in depth about his stint as an astronaut that was sent up to the International Space Station in 2008. While the game designer paid a large sum of money for the privilege of the space flight, he pushed back hard against any suggestion that he was nothing more than a tourist.

“Please don’t call me a ‘space tourist,'” he wrote. “I was not a tourist. I got the same training NASA (and Russian) astronauts get. In orbit, I worked hard to complete those experiments both to offset the high cost of my flight and, more important, to build the businesses that will take me (and you) back to space and ultimately help humanity escape the cradle of our existence.”

Source: NBC News

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LOTRO’s new allegiance system will take you to fantastic places

One of the new major systems that’s coming with Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor deals with your pledged allegiance to certain Middle-earth factions. Players will choose between four races to dedicate their Mordor adventures, opening up a special headquarters and unlocking rewards over time.

Allegiance can be pledged to the Court of Celeborn (Elves), Hall of the King (Man), Erebor (Dwarves), or Bar Thorenion (Hobbits). As players progress in their allegiances, they will open up a special quest line. “Allegiances do have you filling up a bar, and there are repeatable quests and rewards, but for me the significant addition is that each of them tells a continuing story,” said developer MadeOfLions on the forums.

Get an early look at all four class halls allegiance halls after the break!

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Dark and Light launches on Steam early access tomorrow

Dark and Light’s promised “wyvern-sized” announcement has come to pass, and it’s a doozy for fans who have been anticipating this sandbox reboot. Snail Games is launching the game tomorrow, July 20th, on Steam early access.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally almost at the starting line,” the studio said. “Get ready to tame a horde of wild beasts, craft dozens of powerful magical spells, build an impenetrable fortress, and compete for domination of the planet Archos!”

Get pumped for the release with the early access trailer below!

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The Daily Grind: How death-prone are you in MMOs?

Do you find yourself faceplanting a lot in MMOs? Do you measure your lifespan during a boss fight in mere seconds? Or are you so invincible that the game made up a new achievement just for you to recognize your longevity?

I die over all sorts of stupid things, including (and not limited to) falling off of cliffs, miscalculating jumps, overpulling mob packs, saying “I wonder what will happen if I touch this,” looking at PvP players with side-eyes, trying to train dragons, eating hot sauce packets in The Secret World (true story), and on a few occasions, merely by logging into a game.

How death-prone are you in MMOs? For a bonus question, what’s the most memorable way you’ve ever died?

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Albion Online expands its launch rollout

Some MMOs have launch days, but some MMOs are not Albion Online, which is claiming a good chunk of this week to officially release this long-awaited fantasy sandbox. You see, yesterday only admitted legendary pack purchasers, while today allowed in the epic crowd and tomorrow will see veteran founders join in the fun.

This staggered release is probably helping to keep the game more stable than it might have been otherwise. There were some initial login issues, but the team reports that it (mostly) cleared those up quickly. There have been a few other problems, like missing learning points and players being able to farm gear out of their league, but for the most part it looks like things are going relatively smoothly for this launch.

Conspiracy sidebar: Did Jagex announce RuneScape’s mobile adaptation this week to take some of the wind out of the sails of Albion’s release? Your call on that one.

Anyway, check out the launch trailer and eight quick tips for starting out in this game after the break!

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Ghost in the Shell: First Assault Online might have just officially launched

The Ghost in the Shell franchise is no stranger to highly competent cyborg ninja police officers stealthing around the city in the coolest fashion possible, but did its online game just stealth launch today?

It’s a little hard to tell, but it may have. First Assault Online left open beta at the beginning of the month after a year of testing, and now the game is promoting its major 2.0 release called Renewal.

The (launch?) update overhauled the user interface, added three new playable operatives, revamped the remaining roster, reorganized operative classes, added an Electronics Center map, and introduced an elimination mode for PvP.

The online shooter is available through its website or Steam, and you can check out the official trailer after the jump.

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Lost Ark shows off new zones, including one that takes place on the body of a slumbering giant

After a long info drought on the anticipated action-MMO Lost Ark, we’re finally getting a deluge of lore and screenshots courtesy of Steparu. This week he graces us with another installment straight from the closed beta program going on over in Korea, so if you don’t mind some minor spoilers, you can wallow in all of the reveals.

Some of the locations featured in the beta include Rohendel, a floating zone that serves as the starting area for mages; the Eastern Regions, which are littered with ruins and have serious pagan problems; Totoike, an island that is actually a slumbering giant; Ardetain, a high-tech city in the desert; and Shushire, a land held in the grip of an eternal winter.

Steparu also looked at a few more of the oversized bosses that are brimming over with personality, as well as a smidge of the story. The second round of Korean closed beta testing includes the Destroyer, Summoner, and Arcana classes as well as a quest system overhaul.

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Overwatch’s Doomfist was born from a mere name

“From the very moment we announced Overwatch, Doomfist was part of the story,” Game Director Jeff Kaplain said in a new hero preview video. “It immediately raised questions in everybody’s mind: Who is this Doomfist guy?”

The team revealed that the whole character and concept came simply from a villain name thrown out at the beginning of the game’s development. From this simple origin came a feared foe whose super-charged fist was the stuff of legends and was destined to be a part of the game.

And while some fans might be upset that Terry Crews wasn’t actually voicing the villain, as was rumored, apparently Crews himself is fine with the decision. “I realized that I don’t wanna be the guy that hijacks a game, you know?” he said in an interview.

Doomfist is currently in testing, and you can get your behind-the-scenes fix of the character’s development and playstyle below!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 127: EVE walks no more

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree recount the odd history of Walking in Stations, debate the Mordor pre-order, tackle a trio of MMO updates, talk with ARK’s soundtrack composer, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: Are MMO side quests worth it?

Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.

In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”

“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”

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Dark and Light teases major announcement for ‘later this week’

“We have a major announcement coming later this week — be sure to keep an eye out, you’re not going to want to miss it!”

How do you feel about teasing announcements? Because Snail Games is throwing down a “wyvern-sized” one for some big Dark and Light reveal later this week. Will we be getting dragon mounts? Play as dragons? Download a dragon screensaver? Something to do with dragons? Or hey, maybe just a launch date after all the delays?

Well, your guess is as good as ours, really. The project has been pretty quiet this summer, so it will be good to hear developments and receive information, especially if it’s still looking at coming out some time this year.

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